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Barzee Withdraws Request for Competency Hearing

Barzee Withdraws Request for Competency Hearing

Posted - Jan. 8, 2004 at 3:37 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Elizabeth Smart kidnapping suspect Wanda Barzee on Thursday waived a hearing that could have determined whether she is competent to stand trial.

Depending on how a judge rules, Barzee could be held at the Utah State Hospital for an indeterminate time.

Barzee's attorneys David Finlayson and Scott Williams filed a motion under seal Wednesday in which Barzee says that rather than submit to an evidentiary hearing, she would request that the court "for a ruling at its discretion."

Two mental health experts had previously found Barzee, 58, incompetent. A hearing was scheduled Friday to determine her competency before motion was filed by her attorneys.

"I do not believe myself to be mentally ill or infirm or incompetent in the eyes of the Lord," she states in the court document.

The experts were unable to "understand the special nature of my relationship with God and my role as a minister and servant unto Him. ... Their inability to understand is also a result of their different belief system, and the influence of Satan's subtle powers on them," Barzee says in the document.

Third District Judge Judith Atherton unsealed the waiver Thursday afternoon after attorneys for the news media and the state argued it should be public record.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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